Everyone knows the jokes about Florida. It’s home to “Q-tips” and is “God’s waiting room.” In other words, a haven for retirees who just want quiet and a good buffet.

You can throw all that out the window as the second decade of the 21st century comes to a close.

Florida has changed. And the Tampa Bay area is one of the leaders in the new look for the state.

Thanks to an influx of young workers – and yes, even older ones who want to relocate – there is a boom in digital tech companies and SEO services in Tampa.

There are accelerators in downtown Tampa supporting women and minority-owned firms. There are national publications calling Tampa the “hippest city in America.”  There are award-winning companies like Bayshore Solutions offering digital marketing, web development and SEO services in Tampa.

It’s time to put away the old jokes and meet the new Florida.

A Magnet For Young Professionals

Bayshore Solutions picked Tampa as a home for its digital marketing business more than two decades ago.

That’s because they know what people were going to discover. The presence of ocean-front beaches, beautiful weather, parks, nightlife, plenty of events, affordability and an increasingly growing digital economy provide an attractive combination.

After years of not being mentioned often in the discussion about technology innovation, Florida has grown rapidly in recent years. South Florida has more new businesses each year than any other major U.S. metro area. Tampa has more tech talent than cities such as Houston, Kansas City and Pittsburgh.

Those searching for SEO services in Tampa, as well as web development and data-driven analytics companies, have more choices than ever. And that’s expected to grow in Tampa, Miami, Orlando, Sarasota and Jacksonville.

Why? The fast-growing population is one main reason.

Migration to Florida

Florida has the second-fastest population growth among all the states in 2017, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The state trailed only Texas. However, Florida in 2016 (the latest numbers available) had the highest net migration of any state, meaning more people moved in than moved out.

The state also has an unemployment rate of 3.9 percent, lower than the national rate of 4.1 percent. The Tampa Bay area alone created more than 28,000 new jobs in just 2017. The influx of young professionals has created a large talent pool for new businesses.

Tampa leaders have made the most of the possibilities, too. They partnered with Waze and integrated the company’s mapping technologies into city services. The city gives Waze data on school zones, speed limits, parking garages and electric vehicle charging stations. Waze gives residents of the city access to data on existing traffic conditions.

They also partnered with Tesla to provide rides to bus stops for workers. And the city is looking at establishing an Internet of Things that will provide residents data on everything from traffic to pollution.

All this indicates that Tampa and Florida continue to make rapid headway on attracting new workers and companies that focus on the digital economy.

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